Redact Name of Sexual Assault Victim From Order: SC to Madras HC

The Supreme Court has directed the Madras High Court to redact the name of a sexual assault victim from its order.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Rajesh Bindal took exception over the order of the Madras High Court disclosing the name of the victim in its order.

“We find that in the impugned judgement, the High Court incorporated the name of the victim not once but many times. We direct the High Court to redact the name and then upload the order,” the bench said.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by the victim alleging that the HC erred in quashing the case against the accused at the outset on the ground that she was in a relationship with the accused for more than four years.

The plea said the high court failed to appreciate that there ought to have been an opportunity for the investigating authorities to collect ample evidence and materials in support of the commission of the offence.

The apex court had in 2018 held that name and identity of victims of rape and sexual assault, including those who have died, cannot be disclosed “even in a remote manner.”

It also said that nobody can have any objection to the victim disclosing her name as long as she is a major and has taken a decision regarding this voluntarily.

The apex court had said that media should be cautious not to “sensationalise” such cases and though they have an obligation to report such matters, they are also “duty bound” not to disclose the identity of such victims, including minors.

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